December 8, 2010
I never became a ballerina
I never intended to become a ballerina. I only took ballet because my mother pushed me. This mandatory activity was her attempt to curb my tom boy allure. Left to my own devices, I would have only taken shotokan karate. My mother made ballet a prerequisite for karate and I often wore my ballet leotard under my karate outfit.
My children partake in the same activities as I did and even participate in more. Despite her tomboyish looks, my daughter is very enthusiastic about ballet, perhaps because she started earlier than me. When she first started, at age 3, she categorically refused to wear anything pink to class and stood out in her blue outfit.
Why would one "push" one's kids do "all" these activities? Wouldn't they be happier in unstructured play? And shouldn't I save my time, money and trouble and keep them home more often. I did all these activities as a child and didn't become professional in any of them! I have not become a professional ballerina, or a world class horse jumper, or a black belt karateka, pianist, skier, ice skater, or an olympic swimmer...
But I can ski, skate, horse ride decently, and I was even able to take up karate again as an adult. I swim laps whenever I find a pool and I can decipher a few musical notes. As for ballet, it left an after taste for poise and I took that inclination to the pilates studio.
Although at the time I rebelled in ballet class and made sure not to listen, hating the outfit I was wearing and so uncomfortable with my post-pubescent body image, I do believe those classes left me with a predisposition to understand pilates, in the same way taking latin assists in the learning of romance languages. My mother was so keen on good posture. I finally acquired that two decades after my ballet classes.
In the end, children benefit from the experience of sports, arts and skills. Some of these sports remain distant memories while others become serious hobbies and passions. More than anything, I firmly believe that being exposed to arts and sports, makes you a well rounded person, who has a comfortable sense of body and mind.
I have my mother to thank for this.